Thursday, the news came down that Jim Boeheim’s suspension was upheld, but instead of beginning when ACC play starts on December 30th, it will begin with Saturday’s clash with their old rival Georgetown. Overall, this has to be a good thing for the Orange.
Obviously every game is important but the games that really, truly matter are the conference games. Now, with this new suspension, Boeheim will miss three conference games instead of nine. He will return for Syracuse’s first ACC game against a huge opponent as he is set to be reinstated for the January 9th game against UNC.
He will miss a couple of big, touch ACC road games. Boeheim’s suspension will force him to miss Syracuse’s December 30th game in Pittsburgh and their trip to Miami on January 2nd. As crucial as these games may be, he was set to miss these games anyway under his original punishment so it is hard to get too hung up on the fact that he will not be on the bench those games.
What Boeheim and Syracuse fans are getting hung up on– and rightly so– is how little notice he received that he would not be allowed to coach this weekend. The news came down about 48 hours before Syracuse was scheduled to take on Georgetown.
Yes, Mike Hopkins will run the team in an almost identical way as Jim Boeheim. However, it is not easy for anyone involved to find out that there will be a different man coaching the team two days out from the game. This is single most important non-conference game to Syracuse fans and now, Syracuse will be without the man who has been the face of its program for more than four decades.
There is certainly some merit to the argument that Syracuse-Georgetown isn’t quite the same with Jim Boeheim on the bench as he has been the coach since the rivalry really took off in the Big East. However, while Boeheim will not be on the bench and is not allowed to talk to the team, Hopkins will, most likely, channel his mentor and coach in an almost identical way, particularly since this is only temporary.
With all of that said, this altered Boeheim suspension is ultimately a good thing for the Orange. Syracuse will have its fearless leader for its most important clashes against the nation’s best teams. Losing him for the Georgetown game stings, but it is a trade-off he and Syracuse fans should take.